When the Devil Stops You In Your Tracks

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Life Lessons
When the Devil stops you in your tracks

When the Devil stops you in your tracks

This was supposed to be a blog post about the Co-Lab Artistry course I am taking online and how it’s kicked my creative ass into gear.

But it’s not.

This past week, while I am completely fueled by the creative juice that has suddenly flowed into my life, (maybe a distraction in and of itself?) I found that every time I sat down to write about it, I couldn’t. The words wouldn’t come. The screen remained blank.

This blog will ultimately be, I hope, the catalyst I need to push my writing dreams into action, but not this week. Instead, the time I might have spent working on my writing has been swallowed whole by an unseen but nasty presence. I have spent a lot of time sitting in reflection or spurred on by anxiety and panic as negativity and chaos have reached their hands into my life and upended everything.

That’s why I say the Devil has stopped me in my tracks. Have you ever heard the sentiment that just when you’re nearing a breakthrough in reaching your goals, the Devil reveals himself in the form of a distraction, a loss, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle designed to take away your light, drive, and hope? The devil hates your sense of purpose, your upcoming accomplishment and will intervene in the worst way possible, will pull out all the stops to distract, deviate, quite possibly even destroy.

Yeah, that.

It’s been seven days since we’ve seen our four-year-old and six since we’ve seen our three-year-old. No warning, no explanation, they just got picked up before the weekend and we haven’t seen them since. It’s the longest we’ve ever gone without them, and to say it’s been devastating is an understatement.

Clearly, this is a complicated and touchy emotional situation spurred by years of built up hurt, anger, and resentment.

It’s been coming. We knew it was coming for a while. But still, now, when the presence of our two littlest family members have been ripped away from us, it just hurts.

I met Luke in July of 2012. His youngest was seven months old, and his next youngest was two. Since then, we’ve had them every two or three days without fail. For over two years.

To say his relationship with their mom is rough would be the understatement of the century. Over the past two years I have been witness to the blame, the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the accusations, lies, and manipulation of a love gone terribly, horribly wrong.

I stand by my man. I know what’s gone on. But I also know there’s two sides to every story. On the other side is a person who is also feeling hurt, alone, and angry.

But kids are not pawns. They are not game pieces on life’s chessboard.

You can’t suddenly take two little children from a father who has been a consistent, loving, and solid presence in their lives day after day, year after year.

Just because you’re mad. Just because you’re hurt. Just because you want to get back at someone for all the pain you think they caused you.

The state of Arkansas says you can, though. At least initially. We were in an attorney’s office first thing Monday morning, after we were given no access to the kids over the weekend with four minutes communication and no physical contact. In Arkansas, unless established otherwise by the court, Mom has all rights to a child. It is even thornier when both children are hers but only one is his. (Yeah, you know what that means.) Now we’re fighting for rights to a biological child and a child who has no other Dad who is willing to step up and fight for her. Genes don’t matter, because he said she was his and has acted in this manner since before her birth.

But what we feel is right and what is accepted in the eyes of the law are two different and separate things.

We’ll fight with everything we’ve got, no doubt. Just one time of looking at the person you love and seeing the agonizing look of defeat and hopelessness on his face is enough to make you contemplate things you hadn’t before. Those crazy what if’s that enter your head when you’re desperate and grasping for any possible solution.

We’ll stick to the letter of the law, though. Establish paternity of the four-year-old first, since they were never married. Ask for en parentis loco for the little one so he can continue to act as her father.

But mainly this:

Shake our heads and wonder, Why?

In my head, I say all the words I wished I could say out loud, as if they’d make any sort of difference.

We get it. You’re mad, frustrated, fed up with your perceived view of the situation. You’ve got people whispering their opinions in your ear. You say you only want what’s best for the children . . . do you truly believe this is best? To rip a child away from a person who only ever said, “I care about my kids and that’s it. Do whatever you want to me, but don’t take away my kids.”

Do you feel better now? Does it bring that happy bubble into your chest when you think of your children’s father suffering, devastated, and empty? I hope it’s all worth it. Do they ask for him? Cry? What do you tell them when they say, “I want my daddy?”

Do you even care at all?

Unfortunately, I understand this situation from the opposite viewpoint because I was the mother with all the rights four years ago. The law worked in my favor then, when I established myself as having primary parenting responsibility for my daughter. There was no fight, no contesting, no leveraging in my case. I was lucky. We’ve since gone on to have a fairly calm and open agreement regarding how our daughter gets parented. A phone call, a “no problem,” no pent up destructive feelings getting in the way. We vented those long ago and have moved on from the open wound stage.

I knew from the beginning that there were open wounds bleeding all over the place in the case of the man I met and fell in love with. I know for over a year, while he and I established ourselves and our family, the open wounds may have been slowly healing on his end, but were hemorrhaging on hers. She loved him desperately, completely, and still, or at least that’s what she said in texts and phone calls on an almost daily basis. They say the opposite of love is hate, and they hated to love each other, hated what had been done to each other, hated that things could never, ever be what once was.

Once upon a time, there was love. Then it crashed and burned, and the fallout was like a nuclear holocaust, with little pieces found months, years later. Now, two little girls are in the crossfire.

It hurts. It’s sad. It’s frustrating. It makes you feel hollow and empty.

The only thing we can use to replace those feelings is hope.

Hope that we’re doing enough. That we can fight the good fight, for their sake. That in the end, what they say is true:

It will be all right in the end. And if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.

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